How to Ensure Project Alignment with Strategic Priorities  

Your association is always evolving, which means ongoing opportunities to take on new projects and create new products, services and experiences. There is no shortage of ideas.  We need to ensure we pick the right initiatives to move the organization forward.  It’s important to have a streamlined process in place to help evaluate proposed projects to determine if the project makes sense and fulfills your organization’s objectives. In this blog post, we’ll walk you through the steps that lead to giving your next idea the consideration that it deserves before moving forward.  

Getting Started 

When any staff member or volunteer leader suggests an idea for consideration, whether it’s a new website, a new community platform, updated AMS/CRM, there should be a clear understanding of what is expected to approve and resource an initiative. The same concepts apply to projects outside the IT department such as a new publication, a new conference, a new certification or a new product.  

A potential new project can be evaluated by starting with a Project Proposal Submission Form. Let’s break down what it should include:  

Name and Description 

What is the proposed name of the product including a detailed description of the product and features. 

Strategic Fit   

How does this project or product align with your organization’s current mission and purpose, strategic plan or core values? 

Member Needs 

Which primary member (or customer) audience does it serve? What member need(s) does this address? 

Market Viability 

How likely is the new product to succeed due to quality, market size or appeal, new markets, or competitive assessment? 


Do current staff already have the skills needed to create and maintain the product?  Do staff have the bandwidth to take on this project?  If not, which tasks get reassigned or eliminated to create capacity? Will outside contractors be needed to create and maintain the product?  If so, will it be a temporary or ongoing need? Do you have the existing technology necessary to manage the product? 


Is ownership of the product clearly defined? Are there royalties or revenue shares to be paid to third parties? If the product is a joint effort with other organizations, what are the contract terms and responsibilities for your organization? Does the association own the copywrite to all of the assets involved with the project? 

Financial Impact 

What is the one-time start-up cost to create the product? What are ongoing costs for the goods to be sold (COGS)? 


What is the expected revenue from the product in the first year? What is the ongoing expected annual revenue?  When is the breakeven point? What is the expected net revenue (revenue minus direct costs of staff time with overhead and hard costs). 

Evaluation Scoring 

Once a project proposal has been submitted, evaluation scoring will help assess whether or not it meets the necessary criteria to move forward.  

  • Projects that do not rate high on areas such as strategic fit, member need, market viability, and feasibility are likely to score low. These projects can be rejected from moving forward.  
  • If the project is a good fit for the organization and has a positive net revenue, then the project is accepted to move forward for resourcing through the normal staffing and budget process. 
  • If the project scores well as a good fit with the association but projects a negative net revenue or requires a joint initiative, then the project can be passed along for consideration by the Board of Directors.  

Note that if a proposal is rejected, there should be a process where it can be reconsidered at a different time or under different circumstances.  

This model is a basic framework to be modified to ensure that the process is supported by the association's other policies and procedures. 

Moving Forward 

Once accepted, proposals should then be prioritized against the current state of projects in the pipeline. The next steps should include a project sponsor who is tasked with assembling a project team, the assignment of a project manager, and the procurement of necessary resources. 

After implementation, the project team should be prepared to transition any ongoing workload to a department owner for appropriate maintenance and upkeep. In addition, there should be periodical reviews and evaluations, with the purpose of determining if the product or program continues to perform well against the stated goals and objectives.   

Wrapping IT Up 

Cimatri can help your association create a process to evaluate new projects and products to better align your IT department with your organization’s business objectives. In addition, that same framework can also be used to align your association resources with strategic priorities. We’re committed to helping you implement technology and processes that work seamlessly. Ready to get started exploring how we can help you take your association’s IT strategy to the next level? Contact us today!  

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